Can You Put Legal Documents in Someone’s Mailbox?
The mail system is often used by process servers and other members of the legal field. You can easily reach a person by locating their home address and sending them the necessary paperwork through the United States Postal Service.
Have you ever wondered if it is OK to place legal documents directly into someone’s mailbox?
This may seem like a harmless and efficient way to ensure the person receives the paperwork. After all, it’s going to end up in the mailbox anyway, so it’s no big deal to skip a step, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, right?
No, You Should Not Put Legal Documents in Mailboxes
It may seem harmless, but legally speaking, you should not put anything inside someone else’s mailbox.
Mailboxes are considered federal property, protected by rules set by the United States Postal Service. Because of this, only authorized persons (mail carriers and the owner of the property of the mailbox) are legally allowed to place things into and retrieve items from the mailbox.
These laws are put in place not only to ensure you pay tax for the stamp, but also to protect the effectiveness of the mail service. Additionally, people may receive sensitive personal information in the mail, and these regulations protect their information.
Imagine if any person could put something in people’s mailboxes without paying for postage. Advertising would be so rampant it would clog people’s boxes and prevent any real mail from being delivered!
If you are a process server, you might be wondering if there are other ways you can use a mailbox to your advantage. Since you can’t deliver any paperwork this way, maybe you can just take a peek inside to confirm if the target person lives at this address.
There is a bit of debate regarding the legality of this tactic, but most experts agree that it is generally not a good idea to go snooping through people’s mail. This could potentially fall under the crime of tampering with a person’s mail, and then you’d be facing major fines.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. So if you’re using the mail system to locate a person, don’t run the risk of committing a crime. Send all legal paperwork through the post, or simply deliver it to the person by hand instead.
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